The best option when travelling the 125km distance from Ninh Binh to CatBa is by bus. This combined bus and ferry journey takes 4 hours and costs $9.50. Another option is to break your journey with a stopover at Hai Phong. Combined bus and ferry tickets via Hai Phong start from $16.
A combined bus and ferry ticket from Tam Coc or Ninh Binh to CatBa, is the most convenient option. This is a hassle-free way to reach CatBa in as fast as 4 hours.
Are you hoping to make a stop at Hai Phong before continuing on to CatBa? You can also take a bus from Ninh Binh to Hai Phong and then take the ferry to CatBa at a later time. Combined fares start from $16.
The train is not a good option since you first need to go to Hanoiand switch trains to Hai Phong from there. This train ride will already cost you 5 hours to Hai Phong and from there you still need to go by ferry to CatBa Island.
Since the latest ferry from Hai Phong to CatBa leaves at 16:00, you are only left with one option when you want to travel by train from Ninh Binh to CatBa in one day. This is the early morning train leaving at 3:21.
Conclusion: Either book a bus ticket or stay one or a few nights in Hanoi before you continue your journey to CatBa by train.
We recommend to book online for a combined bus + ferry ticket from Tam Coc or Ninh Binh to CatBa. You will find a number of good choices on BookAway and you can easily book your tickets even a few weeks before.
Another option is to book with an agency or hotel in Tam Coc or Ninh Binh. But we prefer to book online via BookAway as they are really reliable and you can reach them if you have any complaints after the trip.
The bus brings you in about 3 hours to Ben Binh ferry port in Hai Phong. From there, you will be transferred to a ferry that takes you to Cai Vieng in 45min. Cai Vieng ferry port is located on the North East side of CatBa island, where another bus will be waiting for you. This bus brings you to CatBa town in 45min.
PRO-TIP: Use the free N26 debit card to avoid the extra fees charged by your bank. This N26 debit card is becoming very popular among travellers, because they don't charge any fees on payments in foreign currencies (most banks charge 3%-5%). New members can order one for free on the N26 website
Good Morning CatBa
Good Morning Cat Ba is a good option that you can book through the button above. This company receives good reviews and provides free drop-off at your hotel in CatBa. Tickets are slightly more expensive at 335,000 VND ($14.50).
Local Agency in Tam Coc or Ninh Binh
You can also book your bus at a local travel agency or hotel in Tam Coc or Ninh Binh. Expect to pay around 300,000 VND ($13) for a combined bus ticket. Note that from Cat Ba to Ninh Binh is remarkably cheaper (200,000 VND, $9), but chances are small that you will get it for the same price when travelling from Ninh Binh to CatBa.
Ninh Binh to CatBa via Hai Phong by Ferry + Bus
Duration: 4 hours Cost: 370,000 VND ($16)
Step 1: Ninh Binh to Hai Phong by Bus
Duration: 3 hours Cost: 70,000 VND ($3)
Buses travelling from Ninh Binh to Hai Phong depart from 2 bus stations: Dai Ly Rung Va Bien in Ninh Binh city centre and Ben do Tam Coc in Tam Coc town centre.
The bus journey takes around 3 hours and costs from 70,000 VND ($3). Only local buses are available and you can buy your tickets at the bus station.
They park at either Niem Nghia Station (5km west of Hai Phong city centre) or Lac Long Station (near Ben Binh Pier).
Ninh Binh to Hai Phong by Luxury Minivan
Duration: 3 hours Cost: 465,000 VND ($20)
If you don’t mind paying more for a more comfortable journey, you can also travel via a luxury minivan from The Long Travel. A ticket costs 465,000 VND ($20) for the 3-hour journey.
When you’re finally ready to continue with your journey to CatBa, you can simply board a ferry from Ben Binh Pier, located 3km from Hai Phong city centre. That’s a 10-minute motorbike or taxi ride with rates from 70,000 VND ($3).
From Ben Binh Pier, ferries bound for CatBa depart at 07:00, 09:00, 13:00 and 15:00. It would be best if you can check these schedules with a local upon arriving at Hai Phong to avoid inconvenience. A ferry ticket costs 230,000 VND ($10) and travel time is around 1 hour.